Monday, September 14, 2020

When smoke gets in your eyes…and lungs and house

I’ve adopted a strange new habit over the past week.  My morning online “check in” now includes checking to see what the current Air Quality Index is for my town.

A week ago, I had no idea what a good AQI number was nor that Woodhaven typically basks in deliciously healthy AQIs of 20 or so.

This morning’s number is currently 381.  I quietly celebrated that it is finally below 400 for the first time in an eternity (actually 4 days).

The past week has been unexpectedly challenging.  And one full of desperate attempts to remain grateful and hopeful.

One week ago today, the areas around Portland, Oregon were preparing for a potentially historic windstorm. The speed of the wind was anticipated to be a typical winter storm.  What made it historic was the timing.

Hot, dry winds from the east blowing over terrain that hasn’t had rain in over a month (pretty much a drought by Pacific Northwest standards), bending trees still full with leaves had many people very concerned about potentially devastating fires.

The concern became reality in a matter of hours.

For a few days, while the east wind still howled and leaves from Idaho continued gathering in our yard, we watched an enormous smoke plume rise like a thunderstorm 60 miles to our south.

The beautifully wooded Oregon landscape, dotted with small rural communities and so much livestock, was on fire.  Towns were overcome, evacuations were rampant, and in some cases the first responders had to abandon the posts they were protecting in order to avoid becoming death statistics.

Shortly later, a fire started to our north, in the rough terrain of heavily treed wilderness.  It wasn’t threatening any populations, until it was.  Just yesterday communities not far from Woodhaven were finally told to simply be “Ready” to evacuate (have plans) instead of being “Set” (livestock already relocated, bags and cars packed, set to flee at a moment’s notice).

Last Thursday, we woke up to news that there was a vegetation fire within walking distance of Woodhaven.  An angel of an early riser had noticed it at 4:51am and called it in.  Three fire engines and two water tenders responded.  The County Fire Marshal and a Battalion Chief also showed up, with other equipment on stand-by.  In less than two unnerving hours, the fire was out.  No structures were threatened.  Only some charred bushes and a tree trunk remain as humbling reminders of how close we came to joining so many others in utter devastation.

We have no idea how it started. 
We are just immensely grateful
it ended quickly.


Friday morning, I woke up in the 2:00am hour overwhelmed by nausea and dizziness.  Despite closed windows and no running air vents, Woodhaven was…and still is…slowly filling with wildfire smoke.

The destructive east winds that fueled the fires had thankfully shifted, slowly reducing the fire danger to more manageable levels.  But the winds now slowly wisping from the west meant that all that smoke that had been blown over the Pacific Ocean was now coming back to visit.  And like the completely unwelcomed and uninvited houseguest that it is, it refuses to leave.

The air is stagnant and yellowish.  Visibility has at times not extended past our 5 acres.  A few days ago it was reported that the smoke above us is 8,000-9,000 feet thick.  Thanks to a resulting inversion layer (the meteorological event when cold air gets trapped below warm air), what should be days in the mid-80s have instead been in the mid-60s.  Our heater is on and I am wearing lounge pants for the first time in months.  All while cooling fans try to filter our interior air. 

At times we can't even see the closest trees.

With the totally-taken-for-granted ability to always open our windows for fresh (if not damp) air, we have never owned an air purifier.  Our bad.  Thanks to a plea for tips on Facebook, we have been running a MacGyvered air purifier consisting of a box fan, a furnace filter, and blue painter’s tape.  Blue tape is also sealing gaps around an exterior door that I am now acutely aware needs new weather stripping.  We are all sorts of klassy here at smoked-out Woodhaven.

I've named this apparatus Merv.  He's 11.
See below for details.

Better filters are on order, me now having learned the existence and importance of a high MERV rating (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values that indicate a filter's ability to snag pollution particles – and 13, by the way).  Amazon couldn’t get the filters here any faster than this coming Friday.  When we ordered them, I assumed (wished? hoped? prayed?) that would be too late to be useful.  Sadly now I’m not so sure.

In addition to Merv, I also have a humidifier going, I’m drinking tons of water, and I am wearing a wet dish towel on my face.  I also have a crock pot simmering on our coffee table, currently just filled with water and lemon juice.  I would love to also have a pot simmering on our stove, but sadly we have a cooktop with a down draft.  Years ago during a cold snap, I made a long bean bag to cover the exhaust vent to keep cold air from filling our kitchen.  It’s currently doing a nice job of keeping the smoke at bay, but any use of the cooktop means I have to uncover the vent and allow smoke to stream in.  First world smoke problems.  And a valid excuse not to cook.  So at least that.

Conveniently, I am accustomed to wearing a mask.
Because 2020.


Two days ago, our favorite contractor offered to loan us one of his industrial air cleaners since it was just sitting in his shop waiting for something to do.  When Mel delivered it, I was nearly in tears from gratitude.  Finally, I would be able to breathe some cleanish, healthish air!  And it was indeed lovely.  For about 22 hours.  The HEPA filter about the size of a riding mower tire is already full, the machine deflating me with its blinking ERROR message.

The white thing is a filter coozie.  The dirty
filter itself is snuggled inside.


This morning, with the toddler-sized air scrubber now just a novelty for the cats to sniff, I woke up in the 3:00am hour with the return of nausea and dizziness.  They have been joined by their Smoke Inhalation friends named Burning Eyes, Tight Chest, and Sore Throat.  It’s quite a party.

I have an app on my phone (loaded last week) that tells me the location of various emergency calls around our county.  Downed wires, traffic collisions, fire alarms, vegetation fires, medical emergencies. I relied on it heavily when the fire broke out at the end of our street.  I have been noticing the past few days a concerning rise in medical emergency calls.  All over the county.  Many many at a time.  I can only assume they are related to breathing issues.

When I was putting our evacuation-ready suitcases away yesterday…travel buddies that hadn’t left their closet since February because, oh that’s right!  There’s also a pandemic!…I noticed that the guest room that they live in had better air.  The benefit of only one window, closed air vents, and a cat-detracting door that is always kept shut.  I might end up living in the guest room for the week until our AQI numbers come down to at least the flat-lipped “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” level.  Beats my other thought of holing up in our small walk-in closet, which currently has the very best air in all of Woodhaven.

Soooo weary of living at the "Hazardous" poisoned
eyes and a tongue hanging out level.  I am clinging to
the promise of the wide-smiled green "Good" level
that I regretfully took for granted for 16 years. 
(Sadly not pictured in our 4 day forecast.)
Not making that mistake again!

I really need to do laundry.  And we should have vacuumed as part of our Storm Prep.  Neither of these chores is a good idea at the moment, for fear they will bring in air from the outside if not the garage.  So Woodhaven is not just smoky; it’s in desperate need of some basic care that just can’t happen right now.

The past week has been quite a test of sanity.  I often encourage struggling friends not to compare themselves to other people so as not to invalidate their own experience…but it is still hard not to feel some guilt and overwhelming confusion about still having our home and our town when so many in the Pacific Northwest no longer do.

I am trying hard to remain optimistic, staring at a photo taken from our back door a couple of years ago reminding me of what will be again.  As a friend in even more smoke-choked Eugene commented, “You could almost drink that air.”

Breathe in.  Hold.  Slowly exhale.  Repeat.

The inability to simply step outside and take a deep breath of clean air is emotionally suffocating.  There is a feeling of being trapped.  And the weather forecast has the key to set us free.  It keeps changing, the forecast.  And not in a good way.  Much like most of 2020, I waver between wanting to be informed and wanting to be in denial. Lalalalalalala.

I have dreamed of getting on an airplane, both to escape somewhere unsmoked as well as to simply breath the freshly filtered cabin air.  I have plans…that if we happen to clear out earlier due to our 750ft elevation…to encourage local friends to bring a lawn chair and simply sit on our lawn and breathe.  It calms me to imagine sitting in a chair on Woodhaven’s green grass, friends in their chairs scattered around at large distances, all of us just quietly, blissfully, gratefully breathing.

I know the day will come.  That day when the smoke blows away and the sky is blue and the air is clean and I am no longer afraid to breathe.  Please, God, let that day come soon.



Wednesday, August 19, 2020

FAIR AT HOME ~ The Recap

Woodhaven is slowly returning to its pre-Fair state. It’s taking some work. Having a Fair At Home is messy!

With all the decks cleared and in the process of being cleaned, it’s time to reflect a bit on this (Lord willing) once in a lifetime pandemic-necessitated Fair At Home adventure.


Escaping at home
Going into this, I had all sorts of ideas and notes and a schedule and recipes and emails and texts and all sorts of things with an adorable little masked cow on it. But I had no idea how anything would turn out.

Would my Facebook friends actually participate in my contests? Would my neighbors really show up for the events? Would Zooming with 4-H kids give any real sense of raising animals? Would the food I cooked actually be edible? Would I have anything to write about?

Would it feel like the Fair? At all?

I am so grateful to say, without a hint of hesitation, YES! To all of it.

Not everything happened like I envisioned it. Some things were disappointing (deep fried booze). Some things fell flat (livestock cheese carving contest). Some things were even better than I had hoped (interviewing friends). Some things surprised the heck out of me (the swelling of my happy heart to gather with my neighbors for goofy fun).

But each day, I wore my Fair clothes and avoided reading the news and did my best to allow my life and focus to be consumed by the Fair. And for the most part, the great escape worked! HALLELUJAH!

As a surprise to nobody, all 6 Smashers have already
been consumed.  The addiction is real. 



Contest Winners!
You can’t have a Fair without contests, so I held a few on Facebook in my best attempt to capture the 4-H exhibits I was desperately missing in the Big Air Conditioned Building.

The Facebook contests rules were pretty simple. I started a thread for each contest. If you wanted to enter, you posted a photo of your entry (sometimes with a few details). Other friends could then “Like” or “Love” your entry as a vote. People could vote for as many entries as they wanted. The winner would be whomever received the most cumulative “Likes” and “Loves” with ties being broken by “Love.” The contests started on different days but all ended on the last night of the Fair.

Having never run a contest before, I hoped I covered all the bases. And then prayed my friends would participate.

THEY DID! Well, except for the cheese carving.

The most popular contest was the Amateur Photography Contest. There were over 60 entries! I absolutely loved seeing the photos my friends took. I loved seeing their kids and their vacations and their gardens. It was honestly better than the photography contest at the real Fair because I knew all the photographers. And I got to learn some of the stories behind the photos.

WINNER!
This phenomenal photo was taken by my friend, Arden.
It is a cactus flower that his wife, Janet, discovered
blooming while she was on an early-morning run.
She rushed to find Arden so he could take a photo
before it closed up again for the day.



HONORABLE MENTION!
This stunning photo was taken by my friend Andilee.
The photo tied with Arden's in cumulative votes, so
Andilee lost by a Love.  But the photo is too beautiful not
to share.  Andilee took this photo of Rosario Beach a few
weeks ago at Deception Pass State Park in northern Washington state.


The Kid Art Contest took a few days to warm up. I suspect it had something to do with parents being a tad busy being parents. But once entries started being posted, more paintings and drawings and other creations by kids 18 or younger started appearing. It was so fun!! All the masterpieces were fabulous. I’m greedy and wished there had been 100 more to Love (I adore kid art). Like the Photography contest, I was seriously blown away by how much talent lurks behind the posts and memes and comments of my friends on Facebook.

WINNER!
This spectacular piece was painted by my niece Erilyn
when she was in 3rd grade.  Yes, EIGHT years old!
Erilyn is now 11 and continues to produce fantastic
art beyond her years.  Such talent!!


Inspired by the First-Day-of-the-Fair tradition of the Chicken Dress Up contest amongst the fowl 4-H kids, I asked friends to post photos of their fur kids wearing costumes. Most of the entries were dogs – apparently they are the most compliant pet type. We also had two horses and one exceptionally patient cat. Disappointingly…but not surprisingly…no chickens.

WINNER!
My sister-in-law Beth took this adorable photo of her
only-slightly-spoiled girls MacKenzie and
Sierra.  SO CUTE!! And definitely Christmas
card material. 


Hoping to replicate the iconic Butter Cow tradition of the Iowa State Fair, I asked my friends to carve a Fair-oriented animal in a block of cheese (see Day 6’s blog). Although there was a LOT of enthusiasm and energy and encouragement for the idea, I was the only one silly enough to actually buy a block of cheddar and chisel it into livestock. It’s really too bad nobody else participated. Not only for the laughs but because carving my llama was actually a lot of fun and very relaxing…and tasty. Highly recommended when you want to give your brain a little rest AND jazz up your Garnish Game.


I think this would be ridiculously fun on a cheese plate
or hors d'oeuvres platter.  Perhaps with some kale.
Because then it would be safe from being eaten.



Newly appreciated Fine Fair Folks
Fairing at home brought all sorts of new insights. Like how much work actually goes into putting on a Fair. Goodness!

Over the years, I have justifiably called out the Fine Fair Folks on areas where I felt the Clark County Fair could stand some attention and improvement. I always have suggestions for making my beloved Fair even better.

But I never really appreciated the hours and planning and scheduling and flexibility required for organizing a Fair until I tried to do it myself. Yes, of course….Woodhaven’s Fair At Home was teensy tiny compared to…well, just about any other Fair you’ve ever been to. But it was big enough to have a lot of moving parts. Interviews, events, food, contests, awards, announcements. Not to mention the cleaning. So much cleaning.

While I will continue to have all sorts of unsolicited advice about how to amp up Summer’s Best Party, it will now come with a better understanding and appreciation of all the hard work and love that are behind the scenes.

Tentative plans were in pencil, firm plans were
in purple.  Until they changed and needed
to be crossed out.  And yes, I branded
EVERYTHING with Molly's cow.



So many dishes
One thing I did not anticipate about Fairing at home was all the dirty dishes that would result. So many dirty dishes. Our dishwasher got such a workout, we had to bust open a new bucket of detergent pods. Those buckets typically last us a few years.

During a normal Fair, there are no dirty dishes to do, other than rinsing out the plastic Dairy Women Milkshake cups or cleaning the cap to my refillable water bottle. It is glorious.

But Fairing at home…with all the Pickle Dogs and Tater Nachos and Navajo Tacos and Elephant Ears and corn experiments and deep fried adventures…the kitchen got more use in the past two weeks than it has in two years. And that includes all the stupid cooking Rob and I have had to do in quarantine (thank goodness for Lean Cuisines and tortilla chips).

Soooo tired of doing dishes. And unloading the dishwasher. Really, just tired of the kitchen.



Fair commerce is alive and well
Every Fair, somehow I manage to get inspired to do a little shopping. The year of the special exhibit about music, I decided I needed an 8-track tape of my favorite Captain & Tennille album as a decoration in our bookcase. Another year, I salivated when the lady manning the canning displays revealed the magic of using an ELECTRIC canner for making jam. Last year, I spent a lot of post-Fair couch time on etsy expanding my Fair-themed earrings collection.

Without intending to, I managed to keep my Fair Shopping tradition alive during Fair At Home. WHOO! Yesterday, Rob hunted down a small metal container of Chipotle Chili Pepper because I am now all sorts of intrigued by what I’m supposed to do with it. And, inspired by the seemingly endless time I spent in front of the kitchen sink washing dishes, Amazon kindly delivered this today:

Squishy floor mat!! My physical therapist was surprised
I didn't already have one for my back.  I had to explain
I much prefer avoiding the kitchen than trying to
make it less painful.  Nevertheless, this Comfort
Mat already feels soooo much better. 



Technology CAN be my friend
I relied a LOT on technology to help me Fair At Home. Without it, my Fair would have been very lonely.

Facebook was critical, allowing me to Fair with friends all over the country. It was SO MUCH FUN! I loved having friends participate in contests and comment on photos and offer suggestions. It filled my heart to see friends who might only have me in common joining together as a community of commenters and voters and entrants. Friends are a HUGE part of Fairing and I am grateful Facebook allowed me the means to Fair with so many of my favorite people.

Zoom was also key, providing a way to virtually hang out in pastures with 4-H kids and a living room talking quilts with an amazingly talented friend. On the fly, I learned how to record a Zoom meeting so that I could share it with the masses (or 34 people, whichever). I also learned how to set up a YouTube Channel to give my Fair videos a more permanent and easily located home. And I did a Facebook Live for the first time when Rob masterfully demonstrated how to cut a watermelon without requiring a trip to Urgent Care. (Click here to watch Rob not cut himself!)

As much as technology can be frustrating and give false impressions about what is real, I am grateful that so many creative ways exist to be with a community even if you are the only one in the room. I absolutely did not Fair alone this year. THANK YOU, FRIENDS!

Attempting to stream our Watermelon Cutting
demonstration on Zoom to Facebook Live.
My hope was to host the eventually-cancelled Watermelon
Eating Contest on Zoom  and live stream it to Facebook
so my Facebook friends could be a live audience.
See how much I tried to learn?!?
All the settings were there.  But the internet speed was not. 



Rediscovering old friends and neighbors
As much as I desperately wanted to wake up from the bad dream of the past five months to find the world and my beloved Fair back to normal, there were some huge and unexpected blessings that came from having to rethink how to Fair.

And they were all about the people.

Rob and I have lived at Woodhaven for 16 years. Over those years, we have met our neighbors, chatted on driveways, commiserated about the sucky internet speed (2.0 Mbps, not even kidding), checked in about power outages and road conditions, shared bobcat and cougar sightings, and combined our checkbooks to have our private road paved.

But until the past week and a half, we had never gathered together as a community.

Seeing neighbors emerge from houses and walk down our shared road with lawn chairs to gather for an outdoor musical almost brought me to tears. Seeing neighbors chat and discover shared hobbies made my heart happy. Overhearing many “We need to do this more often!” made my spirit soar.

Had my beloved Fair not been wisely cancelled this year, this past week of silly fun with my neighborhood might never have happened.



And then there were the interviews. The intentional and scheduled conversations with people I have known for years yet never took the time to delve a little deeper to learn about their passions. In the course of learning about pigs and goats and llamas and sheep herding and quilts, I learned about TJ and Maddie and Kristin and Alex and Allara and Pam and Ruth. I learned about dedication and curiosity and creativity and hard work and overcoming fears. I never would have thought to ask and learn and know were it not for COVID.

I am always looking for rainbows in the storms. Re-discovering my neighbors and friends through my goofy Fair At Home was a glorious double rainbow.


King of the Fair
On the last night of the Clark County Fair, the next Princess Court is announced. The coronation of the Queen comes several months later after the young ladies have had some practice being royal and on stage and televised.

Somewhere around Day 5, Rob jokingly asked me who I was going to crown Queen of the Fair At Home. Little did he know.

Rob is an incredible Fair Buddy. During typical years, Rob carries my stuff, takes endless photos of me eating deliciously bad-for-me food, finds the best seating for my cranky back and other compromised body parts, knowledgeably joins me in answering random Fairgoers’ questions about llamas and alpacas in the Llama Greenway, stays up late with me while I’m typing, and cheers on my efforts when my stamina and iron stomach begin to fade.

During Fair At Home, Rob’s support reached new heights.

Rob wisely took charge of all deep frying since we like our house unburnt. He mixed up the batter, he prepared the experiments, he kept an eye on the bubbling oil, and he cleaned up our Outdoor Fry Station.

He made the dough for the Elephant Ears. He grilled hot dogs. He drove me to Portland for a Hawaiian Shave Ice. He drove me to Patrick’s for yakisoba noodles. He made sure I had a much better second milkshake when my first one was such a disappointment. He talked me down when I was spittin’ mad at our agonizingly slow internet speed. He stayed up later than he wanted to when I was still tapping away on my laptop. He cut a very rolly watermelon into 8 slices without producing a drop of blood.

All this while also being the Answer Man for issues that came up with construction going on in Woodhaven’s living room and painting going on EVERYWHERE outside. Rob made himself available so that I could keep Fairing.

But that’s not the most impressive part.

On Day 4 of the Fair At Home, Rob started school. It has been over 30 years since Rob was a student. And he has never been a graduate student before. But on August 3, Rob jumped feet first into the deep end of his pursuit of a masters degree in Practical Theology (although intended to capture the work needed to put faith and pastoring into action, the program’s name does beg the question if a degree in Impractical Theology is offered…).

Yes. In the midst of Fairing and cooking and fielding questions and staying up late, Rob was also trying to remember how to study and decipher a syllabus and write a college paper and properly cite his sources.

I have an amazing husband. Crowning him King of the Fair At Home is not nearly enough.

I love this man
with everything that I am



THANK YOU
The past two weeks have been the most joy-filled of the past five months. For two weeks I didn’t pay attention to politics or social change or health statistics. A few things snuck in. I know there’s officially a vice presidential running mate. And there was a devastating storm in Iowa. And something is going on with the post office.

But taking a break from the uncertain and tense and divided world we are living in was soul soothing. Filling my days with lightness and goofiness was a much needed reminder that life is still fun. Taking the time to interview friends about their hobbies gave me deeper human connection I didn’t realize I was missing. For two weeks of blissful distraction, I almost forgot COVID exists.

The Fair At Home was therapy for me. And in ways so unexpectedly different than my 10 day escape of Fairing typically is. I loved the sense of Fairing with my friends on Facebook and having them participate instead of just observe. I loved using technology in ways I have never imagined to have conversations I should have had long ago. I loved learning the dangerous wonders of homemade Elephant Ears and deep fried York Peppermint Patties.

I didn’t love the cleaning.

Although I missed by beloved Fair tremendously, I am grateful for the opportunities its cancellation forced. I had to be more creative than I am used to being, exercising some brain cells that had gotten flabby. I discovered a new appreciation for being able to breezily show up at the Fair with anticipation for being entertained all day instead of working to arrange the entertainment myself. And I found joy in connecting in new ways with people I have known for years.

This year’s Fair season was not anything like what I expected it to be…but it was still a spirit-restoring time of fun, friends, food, and escape. My heart is full.

A deep and sincere THANK YOU for coming along the ride with me. For reading, for commenting, for laughing, for Fairing.

If we have all learned anything over the past five months, it is to not assume any plans are guaranteed. So it is with great hope and the humility that COVID has demanded that I say WE WILL FAIR LIKE IT’S 1999 in 2021!

See you next year!!



FAIR AT HOME ~ Recipes!

For my own use in the drippy, grey, cold of January...and for any others who want a Taste of The Fair At Home...here are the recipes worth keeping.  The ones I didn't cross out with a big X with disappointment.  I mean, that pickle dog was good but just too much pickle.


DEEP FRIED BATTER

1 cup plus about 2 heaping spoonfuls of pancake mix (Bisquik)
about 2 teaspoons less than 2/3 cup whole milk
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Combine in a bowl, mix until smooth.

Yep, you're right.  Those are some imprecise measurements.  We experimented a bit because the batter using the original recipe was too thin, even with refrigerating it.  We still think the batter could be a little thicker, so when we are stuck at Woodhaven in a snow storm, we might spend some time perfecting this.

And note...the spoons for the pancake mix are the ones from your silverware drawer...as opposed to the actual measuring spoon used to subtract some whole milk.  Ugh.  Baking.



TIPS FOR DEEP FRYING STUFF

  • Freeze your treats for at least an hour beforehand so they don't instantly melt and disintegrate when they hit the hot oil. 
  • The temperature of the cooking oil varies by recipe.  Without a recipe, we used 350 degrees.
  • Tongs and a wire basket on a stick are handy tools for plopping and retrieving and turning. 




  • Have powdered sugar and chocolate syrup available for accessorizing
  • Double Stuff Oreos, York Peppermint Patties, and Starbursts were my favorites.

Mmmm....Deep Fried Yorks



INDIAN FRY BREAD
(full recipe for Navajo Tacos found here -- Thank you, Erika!)

2 cups all-purpose flour
2.5 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the warm water and mix using a fork until a dough forms.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, then transfer to a clean bowl and cover tightly in plastic wrap.  Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

Divide the dough into 8 equal sections by pinching off golf-ball sized balls of dough, then pat and roll out the dough balls into roughly 6-inch discs on a lightly floured surface.  Keep them covered with plastic wrap while you prepare to fry them.

Heat 3 cups of oil in a large skillet or frying pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes until the oil temperature reaches between 350 and 360 degrees F.  [Or use your adorable mini deep fryer which every properly stocked kitchen should have.] Working in batches, fry each disc in the hot oil until the dough is golden brown on one side, then carefully flip with tongs and fry on the other side. Set on a paper towel to drain oil and stick in a warm oven to stay hot while the other fry bread is cooked.

The Fry Bread was really good just on its own, but feel
free to decorate it with taco meat, cheese, PB&J, hummus...
Lots of possibilities!


ELEPHANT EARS
(nabbed off the internet -- click here for original recipe)

1⁄2 cup milk
3⁄4 cup water
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 cup sugar
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons yeast

Add all ingredients to the bowl of a bread maker and set on the dough cycle. Or, mix vigorously in a large mixing bowl and let rise until double in bulk. [Ugh, that sounds like a lot of work.]

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Punch down and knead.

Roll out to about 1/8 inch thick.

Grab some dough and stretch it into the shape of an elephants ear.  [Or just round.  Round works.]

Cover and let rest for about 10 minutes.

Using a large fry pan, fill with about three inches of cooking oil. Heat until the temperature of the oil is 360 degrees. [Or, use the mini deep fryer you just bought.] If the fat is too cool, the dough will absorb the oil and if the fat is too hot, the dough will brown before it is cooked in the middle.

Lower the dough gently into the cooking oil, two or three pieces at a time. When brown on one side, turn and brown on the other side. Lift from the cooking oil with a fork or tongs and drain on paper towels.

Brush the fried dough with melted butter and sprinkle with powdered or cinnamon sugar. [Or better yet, a mixture of granulated sugar and cinnamon, with proportionately more cinnamon.  Also, go light on the butter...and use an unsalted butter if possible.  Use just enough butter so that the cinnamon sugar sticks.]

This is what happens when you put your leftover
Elephant Ear Dough in the fridge.  We named it Leon
(any "Airplane" fans in the audience?).  Leon got a
little bit bigger and then got crusty and collapsed
over the course of the Fair At Home. 
Sounds about right. 



MINI DEEP FRYER

I LOVE this little fryer!  It was perfect for two hungry adults.  The only reason I would consider getting a bigger one would be to allow for more fry bread or elephant ears to be made at the same time.

We were concerned that there might be some large hot oil pops (or modest explosions) so we did all of our frying outside.  We had absolutely no issues with the hot oil being scary, so we will comfortably fry inside next time.  The only mess was the dribbles of batter from transporting from the batter bowl to the fryer.

I bought this online from Target in May 2020 for $30.  Apparently Target doesn't sell it anymore?  A friend found it at Allbrands.com for a bit more.  Also on Amazon.  Really happy with it so far!




Sunday, August 16, 2020

FAIR AT HOME ~ Day 10

Here we are. The final day of the Woodhaven Fair At Home. It’s been a crazy ten days!

Typically Rob and I spend the last day of the Fair slowly wandering around the Fairgrounds, revisiting favorite displays and animals, having last treats, saying good-bye to friends. I’m always sad and wistful and grateful on the last day of Fair. And I’ve never made it back to Woodhaven without some tear stains on my t-shirt.

It’s a little different this year, but not entirely. The activities today were different but the emotions are much the same. I ended my Fair At Home surrounded by friends in the warm summer air as the sun set over our rural neighborhood. It was a great finish.  And my t-shirt is mostly dry.  Mostly.


Quarantine Life: The Musical
When I asked my neighbors last month if they would be interested in Fairing with me, I was blown away when Bonnie sent an email offering an outdoor musical performed by one of the premier youth theater groups in our county.

What?!?! YES!

Bonnie’s adult daughter, Annalisa, is one of the instructors for the theater group. With quarantine shutting down all performances, the kids were itching to have something to work on and an audience to perform for.

And thus the Driveway Troupe was born, with a one-night-only performance of their timely play “Quarantine Life: The Musical” scheduled as the Grand Finale for our Fair At Home. Is that awesome or what?

Neighbors started gathering in Tim and Karin’s expansive yard a little after 7:00pm, toting lawn chairs and beverages and grandchildren.

Annalisa introduced the play featuring six pre-teen and young teen performers. The play – set to pre-recorded music – was based on the kids’ experience of the past five months.

They are eager and available for more driveway performances
until September 7!


The 20-minute, 5-act play spanned the initial excitement of a seemingly endless summer vacation to the panic of running out of toilet paper to the crushing loneliness of being separated from friends to the mind-blowingly boring Zoom calls for school. It ended with hope and longing for the future when all this weirdness and distance is behind us.

It was funny, sad, poignant, and real.  And far better than some performances we've seen in the Grandstands (The New Cars, anyone?  Ugh.).

The kids did a fantastic job. They danced, they used props, they jumped in the air. All while wearing face masks and performing inside carefully spaced boundaries marked by tape on Tim and Karin’s driveway.

Dancing with toilet paper!  Hysterical and perfect!
We are living in such weird times.

After the applause died down, Annalisa shared that the entire performance had been learned and practiced via Zoom. They had only gathered together in person for a total of 3.5 hours to rehearse as a group. That prompted a second round of applause.

Thank you, Annalisa! Thank you, Driveway Troupe! Thank you, Bonnie and Dennis! Thank you, neighbors! Sitting outside in lawn chairs surrounded by neighbors watching kids get to do something they have worked so hard at and love so much…well, that pretty much is THE definition of Fair.

My heart is so happy!






Hamster Obstacle Course
Several weeks ago, I learned that 12-year-old Karoline is the proud momma to a new hamster named Pocket. Karoline was trying to teach Pocket some tricks.

“You need to make an obstacle course for Pocket! For the Fair At Home!”

Apparently I am persuasive. Or my enthusiasm is contagious. Or Karoline is bored beyond tears. Either which way, I GOT TO WATCH A HAMSTER ROCK AN OBSTACLE COURSE!!

The cardboard course was impressive! Featuring a maze, a ladder, a balance beam, a water feature, a ball to push, a slide, and LOTS of hot glue, Karoline’s creation was definitely a blue-ribbon winner.

Karoline's dad is an engineer.  I think it might
be genetic.  FANTASTIC construction and
attention to detail.

Pocket was all sorts of adorable. She was tiny and silky and soft. Her coat is currently black and silver striped, but in the winter her fur will reportedly turn white. Something about the colder temperatures and she being a “Winter White Hamster.” Dad offered to put Pocket in the freezer to verify this chromatic party trick; Karoline rolled her eyes. Dads are the best!

Click here to see Pocket finish her obstacle course with style

Isn't she just the cutest little thing??  Dawwwww!!




Best Laid Plans
On Day 1 of the Fair At Home, my friend Shannon suggested we have a virtual Watermelon Eating Contest. It sounded like a hysterically messy challenge so I added it to the line-up.

Unfortunately, Shannon was the only one of my friends to sign up. Not much of a contest with only one contestant.

I reluctantly cancelled the contest, but Shannon loves watermelon…and competition…too much to let that get in the way. In a matter of hours, she wrangled her friend Raheli and Raheli’s 7-year-old daughter Ashlyn to join in a race to inhale half of a watermelon.

Yes. Half.

The original plan was to only eat 1/8 of a 10lb melon. But Shannon and Raheli are hard core and quadrupled the challenge.

You can watch the 15 minutes of juicy slurping here – it is quite entertaining. Don’t worry -- Shannon kindly ended the recording before any of the watermelon made a repeat appearance.

These gals were ALL IN.

One of the benefits of doing the contest via Zoom was that the three ladies could talk to each other between bites. Some choice quotes to give you a flavor:

“I’m so glad I did my make-up for this.” -- Shannon with her face covered in watermelon

“This is very primal” – Raheli following the rules of not touching the watermelon with her hands

“This is SO GOOD!” -- Raheli with all sincerity as she was about half-way through her second slice

“I’m a MONSTER!” – Ashlyn as she dug into her second slice

“Do you have another hair tie, Mom?” – Ashlyn’s sibling off camera. “Busy.” – Raheli with her head bobbing in the watermelon like a chicken eating feed.

“So much water.” – Shannon. “We’ll be peeing quite nicely.” – Raheli

“I don’t think I considered this when I was eating breakfast.” – Shannon. “I fasted for this meal.” – Raheli

“I just had watermelon shoot out of my nose.” – Raheli

Thank you SO MUCH, Shannon and friends for joining in the spirit of Fairing At Home!! And thank you for not sharing the aftermath.

The pain was real at the end.  And likely in the middle as well.
And probably for several hours after.



FAIR AT HOME STATS!

Today’s t-shirt: Today was the first time I have worn this shirt! I excitedly bought it at the Iowa State Fair last year, washed it, and carefully tucked it away in anticipation of wearing it proudly around the Clark County Fairgrounds. Next year!



Today’s earrings: Ferris Wheel, in honor of Rob’s and my traditional Last Evening Ferris Wheel Ride. Rides were one thing I just could not figure out how to replicate with Fairing At Home. The closest I got was when my friend Pam was telling me about how she trims sheep hooves. She places the sheep in a contraption call a “Tilt Table,” straps them in, and tilts the table sideways to allow easy pedicure access. When I eagerly said, “That sounds like a fun ride!” Pam blessedly saved me from myself, quickly explaining the table wasn’t easily accessible so I couldn't check it out. My back and my husband and my doctor thank you, Pam!  To see a sheep get tilted, check out this video.



Today’s hand sticker: A slice of pepperoni pizza that is ready to duke it out. He looks tough…but is he tougher than yesterday’s Pissy Little Taco that stayed on until 9:58am this morning, finally crumbling amid a swirl of shampoo bubbles?



Time today’s hand sticker finally bit it: Clearly having it in for the Pissy Little Taco, the Lookin' For a Fight Pizza Slice is still hanging on strong.  I suspect he will get the shampoo treatment tomorrow.

Number of steps walked:  4,897!!  And all without any Durable Medical Equipment!  I currently have an ice pack on my foot, but all is good.  YAY!

UnFair food consumed: I ran out of bananas so no breakfast smoothie today, so it was a Kind Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter bar instead. Dinner was the delicious remains of Friday’s yakisoba noodles from Patrick’s.

Best House to Ditch Your Diet At:  Tim and Karin’s daughters are 4-H bakers, among other things.  Because you can’t have a play without snacks, Makayla and Karoline baked up a table of award-winning treats (all ribbon winners at past Fairs) for tonight's musical.  I have only sampled the incredibly moist and potentially addicting Blueberry Zucchini Bread so far.  SOOOO GOOOD!!  They sent me home with a doggie bag of the other selections.  I am so grateful I don’t have a doggie I feel obligated to share these with.  I have the best neighbors!!

All about delicious safety!

I don't like zucchini bread.  At least I didn't think
I did.  WOW!!  And the blueberries!  So dangerous.



FAIR FOOD FEAST TREATS!


Dollar Tree Corn Dogs

Desperate for a corn dog but too doggone tired to head to the other side of the county to check out a tavern reportedly offering them for Fair Week, I was excited to discover a frozen version at Dollar Tree yesterday. Branded “State Fair” corn dogs, they seemed a perfect consolation prize for the tasty ones at the Lion’s Booth in the Fair’s Food Court.

Verdict: The box came with two corn dogs I would put in the “smallish” category. But for 50 cents each, I would deem these corn dogs an unexpected winner! The hot dogs tasted like hot dogs and were much better than I feared I would get for four bits. The corn batter, while a little soft and mushy, was definitely acceptable. The dogs are small enough to fit in our little deep fryer, so that might be worth trying sometime in the winter. All in all, though, a nice surprise for 50 cents!

Just out of camera range:  my third Smasher!
This one was just straight lemonade, which
I had never had from Stan before.  It was
very tart, which was a bit arresting at first
but then I started to really enjoy it.  It was
a great companion on a hot little walk
around the neighborhood. 

Fair At Home Corn Creation

On Day 7, my friend Tom suggested that my corn experiments really should have been Mexican Crema instead of mayonnaise. He described Mexican Crema as “kind of in between butter and sour cream.”

With two ears of corn and a half-full tub of sour cream left in the fridge, I decided to get super brave and experimental in the kitchen. Me! Cooking-ish!

Most of the recipes online for Mexican Corn told me to go buy crema, apparently available in a jar. Cotija cheese was mentioned, as was that chipotle chili powder stuff I never knew existed. When I head to the grocery store to replenish my bananas tomorrow, I’m definitely checking out the spice aisle.

With no enthusiasm to go the store today, I used what I had on hand and created my own Fair At Home Corn Concoction. GO ME!

I rubbed the cooked cob with some butter, then slathered on a nice coating of sour cream, and then sprinkled it with feta cheese crumbles since feta cheese sort of looks like cotija cheese. Later Googling suggested my tub of shredded parmesan would have been a better choice.

With no chipotle chili powder on hand, I considered my array of spice mixes that I like to use as condiments. Deeming “Slap Ya Mama” too Cajuny and “Cookies’ Flavor Enhancer” too Midwesterny, the clear choice for seasoning my lazy girl’s Mexican crema corn was Tajin…the chili limey stuff that tastes particularly good on fruit. I also had a bottle of lime juice on hand since that seemed to be a popular ingredient, too.

Verdict: For improvising and having no clue what I was doing, this corn experiment wasn’t bad! The sour cream was definitely better than mayonnaise. The feta was fun but it was too mild to add much. A saltier cheese, like parmesan or perhpas cotija (hey, there’s an idea!) would have been better. As for the Tajin, I liked it! But I wanted a little more heat, so maybe Slap Ya Mama would have been better.

The bottom line, though, is that I COOKED! Like, I didn’t follow a recipe and I used stuff I had lingering in my kitchen! Yes, it was only to top corn but hey, a kitchen-wary girl has to start somewhere.

I took off my glasses because I have learned from
experience that corn juice on glasses requires
much more than a t-shirt to clean.
#ProfessionalFairGoer



Not quite The End just yet
After I get some sleep and catch up on a few Life Matters, I will post one more blog to recap and reflect on the past ten days. And share the winners of a few other contests that happened this week.  And pass along some recipes. Ok, maybe two more blogs.

I will say it again soon, but I want to thank you so very much, my fellow Fair Fan, for reading along, commenting, commiserating, laughing… for Fairing…with me. It has been an absolute blast.


Saturday, August 15, 2020

FAIR AT HOME ~ Day 9

Usually at least one day during the Fair, it is oppressively hot. In the Pacific Northwest, that means anything over 92 degrees.

On those days, the big walk-through misters appear all around the Fairgrounds, livestock huddle next to breezy fans and cuddle frozen water bottles, and Rob and I head into The Big Air Conditioned Building.

The BACB houses all the home arts and craft entries on one side (quilts, canning, photography, sewing, Legos). The other side is the commercial area. The place where vendors rent a square of concrete, put up some curtains for walls, and try their best to convince you that you MUST go home with a back massager, jewelry cleaner, dipping sauces for pretzels, telescoping flag poles, bamboo bedsheets, leaf guards for your gutters, and a new cellphone service provider.

In other words, aisles of stuff you're sure you don’t need until you see it and touch it and start imagining how much more satisfying and complete your life would be if you just handed over your credit card.

Today’s high at Woodhaven was 98 degrees – breaking today's record for our town by 3 degrees.

Although Woodhaven is nicely air conditioned, hanging out on the couch looking at stuff we have already purchased to make our life complete (I absolutely need all these remote controlled candles) really isn’t in the spirit of Fairing on a hot day. So Rob and I trekked down to the best approximation I could think of for perusing aisles of products we really don’t need in a Big Air Conditioned Building.

We went to Dollar Tree.

Unlike the BACB at the Fair, our Dollar Tree
was pretty darn empty on this scorching hot day.
Maybe everyone was at my Plan B (IKEA) instead?    

I typically shop at Dollar Tree once or twice per month, almost always beelining for either the party supplies aisle (LOVE the little gift bags and tissue paper and wrapping paper) or the plastic storage bins aisle (you can never be too organized). Interestingly, these two aisles are on the perimeter of my most visited store, so I’m not terribly familiar with what lurks in between.

Committed to replicating the BACB experience as closely as possible, Rob and I started at one end of Dollar Tree and methodically strolled down each and every aisle. Including the freezer section in the back and the helium balloons and Back to School displays in the front.

With hope and intrigue and a spirit of discovery, I grabbed a green plastic hand basket from the “Freshly Sanitized” stack.  We headed in.

By the end of the first aisle, I had some greeting cards in my basket. Then I discovered brown lunch bags (I depleted my stash with our klassy wine tasting last week). All for just $1!!  We stood dumbfounded in front of the freezer section. They have frozen food at Dollar Tree??

Rob was excited to discover the large bags of ice for only a buck. My eyes got big when I spotted a box of frozen cherry Icees in cups. I have never seen those before!! Although I prefer a Slurpee, having an Icee on hand in the freezer might not be a bad add to our provisions.

But then….THEN…my eyes landed on this must-have.

I have been craving a corn dog!  I was trying
to avoid buying frozen ones but
how could I pass this up?!?

Guess what lunch is tomorrow??? And even the brand (which I’ve never heard of) is perfect!!

As we continued serpentining through the store, I made mental notes of discoveries for future purchases.  Like little bottles of condiments and foam throw-away paint brushes and super glue and nail files and pretty dinner plates. SO MANY TREASURES!

We ended up spending about 30 minutes and $10 on our excursion to the Fair At Home’s Big Air Conditioned Building. It was a perfect respite from the excessive heat…and way cheaper than a Magic Broom that deceptively only works on solid floors without grout (boy that sales guy was convincing though).

That tub of Hair Gunk was a total impulse buy. Because $1.
Now that I'm home and away from the thrill of the hunt,
I'm a little concerned that $1 hair gel will either make
my hair fall out or stay stuck together forever.


FAIR AT HOME STATS!

Today’s t-shirt: I made today’s t-shirt online about 10 years ago. Inspired by a t-shirt Rob had of various purple stains representing different wine varieties, I decided I needed a shirt capturing the food bits I bring home on my clothes during Fair week. As I look at it now, I realize I need to do a new shirt with some updates. Another Rainy Season project!

My late-nightly location during Fair

Today’s earrings: Corn dogs! My first-ever pair of Fair themed earrings. Awwww! I wore them today with no idea I would be scoring my State Fair dogs for tomorrow’s lunch! Kismet.

The other earring has a bite out of it.
Not mine; it came that way.

Today’s hand sticker: A pissy little taco. I am not sure what is up with my hand stickers all of a sudden. Perhaps they are pouty that the Fair is almost done. I get it, Pissy Little Taco. I get it.


Time today’s hand sticker finally bit it: 11:26pm and the testy little taco will not give up!

Number of steps walked: 1,313, most of which was in the BACB.  Maybe we should have done two loops?  Because that wouldn't have looked suspicious at all.

UnFair food consumed: Fiber-rich breakfast smoothie! For lunch, in hopes of finding a corn dog, we went to Dairy Queen. No corn dogs. So I had a chili cheese dog instead and helped Rob eat some fried cheese curds. Yes, this technically constitutes Fair Food, but it wasn’t really good enough or interesting enough to earn a place in the Treats parade. For dinner, a few weeks ago, we ordered a Hello Fresh meal with Fair in mind. Tonight Rob made Country Chicken and Honey Butter Biscuits for me, bless his heart.


FAIR FOOD FEAST TREATS!

Smashers!!
So when you go to the Fair pretty much every day…and you don’t drink soft drinks anymore and you are tired of boring water…an enormous cup of fresh fruit juiciness is pretty much a godsend.

With my multiple daily visits to his tie-dyed beverage tent, it didn’t take long for me and Stan the Smashers Man to strike up a friendship several years ago. A friendship that started at the Fair and then moved to Facebook and now includes sharing photos and comments throughout the year.

Wistfully salivating over the thought of my beloved Strawberry Mango Smasher…or Peach Pear… or Northwest Berries...I sent a note to Stan in July asking if he might be game to let me buy a Smasher sometime during Fair week. I offered to meet him wherever was convenient, knowing he lives a ways from Woodhaven.

A couple quick emails and a phone call later, a plan was made. It was purely providential that our Smashers date ended up being during a heat wave.

Stan refused to accept payment, so I brought along two bottles of Rob’s homemade wine as a thank you. Rob makes really good wine…and yet, I feel bad we might have gotten the better end of our Smasher deal.

Not only did Stan offer to come most of the way to Woodhaven, he brought a cooler stuffed full of my addiction. Not just one Washington Smasher. Not just two, so Rob and I could each have one. Nope. Stan brought me six Smashers in a cooler! SIX!!! Six huge, refreshing, fruity, healthy-ish gifts of my beloved Fair In a Cup.  OH. MY. GOSH.

He even gave me straws and little mint sprigs for garnishes.
I am just overwhelmed by Stan's kindness.

Sitting on Woodhaven’s patio at 96 degrees, my first Smasher (Northwest Berries) was just ice and fruit remnants in about 45 minutes.  My second cup (Mango) will be empty before bed.  I will be leaving the night light on.

A smashing day for a Smasher!  THANK YOU,
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, Stan!!!

Stan, I can not thank you enough. Thank you for your delicious beverages. Thank you for essentially hand-delivering a bounty of them to me. Thank you for Fairing with me in the Umpqua parking lot. Thank you for being an amazing friend.

Fair people are the best people.

Yay for camera tricks!  We were appropriately distanced
during the taking of this photo.  It was SO hard not to
hug Stan as a hello, a good-bye, and a thank you ever so much.


Deep Fried Candy
As the Grand Deep Fried Finale, tonight we experimented with an array of candy gathered in our hunt at Dollar Tree. It was MUCH better than last night’s disappointing encounter with deep fried booze.  YAY!!!!

Our lineup (and the order in which we tried them) was: Gummi Dinosaur, Twizzler, Cherry Starburst, Hershey Kiss, Three Musketeer, York Peppermint Patty, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

We froze the candies for a couple hours before
frying with hopes they wouldn't completely melt
in the hot oil.  This worked well for most of them.

We actually kicked everything off with some deep fried banana slices; I had a brain fart and forgot to freeze them when we did our marginally successful Deep Fried Fruits night. The banana was very good! We probably needed to cook it a little longer, but dipped in some chocolate sauce, Deep Fried Bananas are a definite YES.

And this was BEFORE inspiration hit to add
chocolate syrup to the experience.

Next up was the Gummi Dinosaur.  I really wanted to deep fry Gummi Bears but feared the little bears would be too small. In retrospect, cleaning up after little bears would have been a lot easier. The Dinosaurs were messy!

Stringy, oozey, gooey, sticky. And unfortunately really tasty since the Gummi was all just melted sugar. The fried dough was a rainbow of colors and had a wonderfully artificially sweet fruity flavor. We will never fry Gummis again for fears of ruining our little fryer with layers of sticky goo. Too bad, because as fried stuff goes, this was pretty dang tasty!

Not pictured: metal scoop that was covered in burned sugar.
Still unknown: if we can get the sticky disaster off the
walls of our fryer's pot.

The Twizzler was fine. Tasted like a Twizzler in fried dough. Nothing really spectacular, although dipping it in chocolate syrup livened it up, reminding me a bit of the flavor of a Cherry Tootsie Pop.  Not bad but not worth doing again.

The Deep Fried Starburst (cherry) was a winner! The meltiness made the Starburst easier to eat, although it was super chewy like taffy.  I gnawed on it like beef jerky for a spell, a little concerned for some dental work. I enjoyed how the melted sugar flavored the fried dough so it was something like an airy cherry donut hole. With the bonus of being super pully and stringy and loads of fun to eat. I would definitely have a Deep Fried Starburst again, trying lots more flavors.

Apparently I sported a string of red Starbust on my chin
for awhile.  FAIR! FAIR! FAIR!

Deep Fried Hershey Kiss – YES PLEASE! This was so good! So simple but so elegant. It was just melted chocolate encased in fried dough. But wow, what a classic Fair treat this should be.  Add a tiny dab of powdered sugar and watch out.  One Kiss is so dainty, though. There’s no calories in dainty, right?

Deep Fried Heaven

I was excited to try the Three Musketeers bar since it was my favorite candy bar when I was a kid. I anticipated it would be really sweet, and that the fluffy stuffing would melt into a nougaty goo.  And yes, I thought this would be a good thing.  Maybe we didn’t cook it long enough, but nope.  No sweet, no melted fluffiness, no gooey nougat.  The Deep Fried Three Musketeers was actually really boring and forgettable.  Not bad, but not worth the effort or calories.

Tied for First Place with the Hershey Kiss is Deep Fried York Peppermint Patty. OH MY!!

It was a little tricky to cook the patty since the chocolate started to melt in the hot oil, pushing the patty out of the batter.  But that just meant there were pockets of minty filling oozing out.  Mmmmmm.

The mint was warm, the chocolate was melty, and the dough actually added to the experience by toning down the peppermint a bit. Those Yorks can sometimes be a bit intense, so the added fried dough made the Peppermint Patty taste a bit more adult and sophisticated. Plus, it left my breath minty fresh! Much needed at this point in the adventure.

All the white is the peppermint filling.  I didn't think to
dip the fried patty in chocolate syrup; that might have
put the Yorks alone in first place by replacing
some of the chocolate shell that had melted away.
Next time.  Because there will be a next time.

Our last candy adventure was Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. These are my most favorite Deep Fried Fun at the Fair. They are really rich, though, so I typically only have one each year. I was hoping that since we were frying up little mini cups, I might be able to increase my annual intake significantly. 

Unfortunately, the tiny size of the peanut butter cups made it hard to cook them. One cup escaped the batter completely; another popped its top. So while I greatly enjoyed the warm, gooey, salty peanut butter cup, the dough wasn’t really a part of the experience. In the dead of winter…when perhaps we are stuck at Woodhaven with a few feet of snow on the ground, we will dig out the fryer and give a bigger peanut butter cup a deep fried go.

So the Deep Fried Candy Aisle score card is:

Tied for 1st Place = York Peppermint Patty and Hershey Kiss
3rd = Strawberry Starburst
4th = Gummi Dinosaur
5th = Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup
6th = Twizzler
7th = Three Musketeer

This fryer thing was a hoot and definitely one of the best Fair purchases I have ever made.  Highly recommended for Fair Fun year 'round!

Our Deep Fried Set Up.  We didn't ever come close to
blowing anything up so we might be ready to move
the operation indoors next time.